If This Isn't Nice, I Don't Know What Is.

 "And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."   - Kurt Vonnegut 

Matt likes to photobomb my shots.  He's is the mad blur flying in from the right.  We were watching the sunset from the Rims.  10/21/21

Matt and I use the "If-this-isn't-nice" technique quite regularly in our lives.  It has served us well for year and years.  We borrowed it directly from Kurt as he, in turn, had borrowed it from his Uncle Alex.  

Family fun after Shrek: The Musical (three of my cousins were in the play) at my Aunt and Uncle's house.  We played Spoons which was a totally awesome blast from the past.  11/7/21

I loved Kurt's suggestion from the moment it first crossed my path back in high school.  It dovetailed with my yoga instructor's adage which came along in college:  "An attitude of gratitude brings you joy."  Both drove home to me the importance of being present.  Of being aware of the small (and large) joys in my life and cultivating a grateful, open heart.  Together, they made me feel like happiness was fairly easy for me to find, so long as I was paying attention.   

A creamy curried soup with lots of pretty fixings made by our friends Derek and Brittany. 12/5/21

"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is," while we hike on the Rims, as we eat a scrumptious homecooked meal, as we soak at a hot spring pool.  

"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is," as we watch bright, fluffy snowflakes tumbling down, as we paddle the kayak at Riverfront Park, while tending our garden.

A cabin-in-the-mountains-with-a-hot-tub slumber party with some very special galpals.  11/14/21

"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is," while we enjoy the sunrise/set, as we dance together, as we sit with cats on our laps and books in hand.  

"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is," as we belly laugh with friends, when the air is filled with that fresh rain smell, when we're camped out in the woods.  

Johnny is an excessive licker--of herself and others.  Ginger is happy to oblige.  11/9/21

Because happiness is the little stuff--a cozy cuppa on brisk day--and it is the big stuff--the Grand Canyon at sunset.  Awareness is the key.  These moments are all around us, especially the littler ones.  I think Uncle Alex was on to something.  Happiness deserves acknowledgement at every opportunity.  

Walking to the show with Val and the Matts at Hillberry.  10/10/21

Here's the full passage from A Man Without A Country:

"But I had a good uncle, my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life-insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

So I do the same now, and so do my kids and grandkids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.""

Our 2021 Christmas tree--the first time we went out and cut one ourselves--and the winter wonderland beyond.  12/5/21

Kurt Vonnegut was a pretty formative influence in my teens and twenties.  His compassion and humanism and humor blew me away, especially given all he had been through in the war.  He made me want to be a better human.  That's good writing, I say.


  1. Hi Beth,
    ...so funny about the photo bombing...when I was little...my uncles would always put bunny ears on someone...in every photo...I think my sweet sissie's boys inherited that trait...haha...and I definitely LOVE Kurt Vonnegut...the quote is very à propos...
    ~Have a lovely day!

    1. Ah, I love those silly little traditions and traits that get passed along down the family tree. That's awesome.

  2. Dear Beth,

    Thank you for sharing the passage and I love the phrase and your reflection based around it, wise words indeed and they certainly warmed my heart this evening. Your tree looks cute and cosy especially against the backdrop of all that snow! Are you working on any craft projects at the moment? Sewing, knitting? San xx

    1. Hi, San. Lovely to hear from you as always. The snow is so delightful. Growing up we always had a White Christmas, but that isn't the case where I live now. For me, the snow adds to the wonder of the season and makes a good thing even better. I love it. Very cozy. I am knitting a new batch of dish cloths for the kitchen. The last batch have all been used up til they're more hole that cloth! Knitting by that tree/snowy window is pretty fab. Again, so cozy.


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